Pico Projector Review – Optoma Neo-i DV20a Projector

Neo-i Menus

The menu system for the Neo-i proves easy and simple enough. There’s not a whole lot of options.

For the Picture, you can control Brightness and Contrast, also sharpness, but no real color controls. There’s also control for the aspect ratio. I found the Auto aspect ratio did not accurately work with an old standard DVD – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I had to use the menu to properly adjust. No big deal.

Newer DVD’s seemed fine. Sound has an equalizer with four settings as shown below.

Picture

Music

EQ

Neo-i Remote Control

Unlike most Pico projectors, the Optoma Neo-i has a remote. It’s your typical credit card sized remote, so range isn’t exceptionally long. The Neo-i has its IR – infra-red sensor for the remote, on the rear of the projector. I could place the projector about 6 feet from the screen, and still control with the remote from 20 feet back from the screen. The remote’s definitely trickier if you are standing to the side of the projector and slightly front. Still, all considered, it’s a reasonable remote control for this small iPhone and iPad, all in one projector.

For such a small device – and small remote control, the neo-i’s remote has a lot of buttons – 18 in all. But then it must control all the projector functions, and also the basic playback related functions to view content from various sources (play, rewind, pause…).

Optoma Neo-i Lens Throw

The Neo-i produces a sufficient size image with the lights out or turned down low. To figure out where you have to place the projector for any given sized screen, take the distance from the screen to the front of the Neo-i projector, and divide by 1.8 and that will give you the correct screen size. Thus, if you place the projector 100″ from your wall or projection screen, you’ll get an image 100 / 1.8 = 55.5 inches wide. I rarely projected that wide an image with the Neo, due to brightness, but at about five feet from the screen, you get a respectable sized 33″ wide image, which normally looked pretty good, as long as keep the light away.

Neo-i Lens Shift & Setup

No lens shift. Also, as is so far, the norm with pico based projectors, no zoom lens. The manual lens located in the front, with its lens barrel recessed behind the curve of the front top. Unlike the rest of the black projector, the lens housing is silver and easy to grip to rotate for focusing.

Optoma DV20a Pico Projector - Image Quality - Neo-i

More neo-i images coming shortly, including HDTV Oscars, and HDTV sports images. Please note, that these photos of the Neo-i projecting, are not going to be accurately represented on your display after losses, by the digital camera, the browser, the monitor, etc. That said, the neo-i should look better on your screen than these images would indicate. And that’s a good thing – for the neo-i, and you.

Click Image to Enlarge

Optoma Neo-i iPhone Projector - Picture Quality

I should have known. I certainly played with the neo-i iPhone projector’s smaller sibling, the PK301.

The color’s actually pretty darn good for a pico projector! I mean photos look pretty good, as do video clips. More impressive still is that it could look down right reasonably good reproducing movies.

As you can see in the image below, from Ferris Bueller’s day off, the neo-i is doing skin tones reasonably well. And that’s looking at them with a critical eye. Let me put it another way: In the portable business projector arena, I can think of plenty of lower cost (under $1500), (most of them also DLP, like the neo-i), that cannot do natural color as well as the neo-i! Oh there are plenty that can do better as well, but to think that it can do color better than a; number of $1000 projectors… One does start to get impressed.

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